Tag Archives: endangered species

Will the “green movement” be the death of endangered species?

It’ all about the money.

It always has been and always will be.

The cash cow of the “green movement” and its singular focus on climate change has birthed a monster that is bilking billions from the public.

It is also directly taking funds that might otherwise do things that can be tangibly measured like purchase South America rainforest to save it from commercial ranching and link habitat corridors to establish safe travel ways for tigers in Asia.

Does anyone really think any of the money going toward “climate change” is making a difference or ever will?

Rhinoceros_in_South_Africa_adjusted
All species of rhinoceros are headed the way of the Dodo bird. (Public Domain Photo)

Even if America were to bow to even the most strongest emissions standards do you really think Chinaand other developing countries will?

Really!?

When is the last time (other than two paragraphs ago) you heard anything about saving the rainforest?

It was the thing to save 25 years ago.

And it is even more endangered now as are its inhabitants but public interest waned and the corporate environmental saviors in various charities and governments around the world found something more lucrative: climate change.

Ironically the rainforest loss is linked to climate change but you can’t get poor countries in South America to pay billions for protecting forest. You can however syphon billions out of the western world for the grandiose idea of reducing carbon emissions.

Remember-it’s all about the money.

We are allowing animals like all subspecies of tigers, all varieties of rhinoceros, the vaquita porpoise and a host of other highly vulnerable animals to slip into extinction with little or no mainstream interest in funding their protection.

And if the so-called “green movement” people who constantly say they care about wildlife and the environment had been watching these situations more closely species like the vaquita would not be down to 30 specimens. Their problem is poaching and if someone had jumped on the issue 20 years ago things would be radically different.

But that was about the time focus shifted from the rainforest to “global warming” which has now morphed into “climate change”.

That way if they find out temperatures are actually decreasing in areas they can save face. “Climate change” gives them a lot of leeway.

I have nothing against trying to reduce carbon emissions. It needs to happen across the board.

I do have a problem with some of the rarest animals, plants and habitats disappearing when just a fraction of the funds fattening the pockets of the climate change crowd would make a radical difference in their survival.

Stop being naive.

We will not make a dent in actual carbon emissions but many of you will have a dent in your pocketbook because you believed the sales pitch of people with agendas other than true conservation.

I highly advise investing in small conservation projects that are directly saving habitat from destruction, aiding anti-poaching crusades and funding research that could save endangered species.

Aim small, miss small is a key tenet of shooting.

It’s also a good way to think about efforts to save the planet’s rarest animals and habitats.

Chester Moore, Jr.

 

 

 

Snow leopard de-listing. What’s the real story?

Recently I received news that one of the most mysterious and beautiful creatures on the planet was being taken off the endangered species list.

I am talking about the snow leopard.

Listing and delisting a species can come with a lot of confusion as subjects like this one deal with everything from extremely difficult population analysis to its interpretation.

Snow_Leopard_in_Hemis_National_Park
Public Domain Photo

In this special case I turned to someone I trust and respect my friend from the other side of the world Dr. Natalie Schmitt who as you will see is doing some great work that will benefit snow leopards and other wild felines.

Here is the transcript of the questions I sent her and as always she answered with great detail and honesty.

Chester Moore, Jr.

 Do you feel the delisting of the snow leopard is justified?

I think the decision by the (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) IUCN assessment team to downgrade the snow leopard’s conservation status from ‘endangered’ to ‘vulnerable’ is justified as the species needed to meet very specific criteria to maintain that status.

A continuation of the ‘endangered’ classification for the snow leopard would have required two criteria to be met, 1.) a population consisting of less than 2,500 adults, and 2.) a rate of decline exceeding 20 percent over 16 years. The expert assessor team (consisting of five respected international experts), using the best information available, determined that the snow leopard currently meets neither criteria.

Nat-In-Tropics
Dr. Natalie Schmitt

Although recent studies suggest that snow leopard numbers are likely higher than previously thought, the assessment team took an exceptionally precautionary approach, including using the lowest widely accepted global population size (4,000) when determining if the ‘endangered’ threshold could be met.

Although we still have only very crude estimates of snow leopard abundance based on sightings, camera trap recordings and interviews with local people, more accurate estimates are likely to not have any impact on the conservation status according to the expert team. However, my personal concern is that the decision has been made prematurely before broader-scale surveys are conducted with more accurate counting methods, to know for certain. In fact, in the full report on the snow leopard, the IUCN noted that population numbers could be partly speculative, given the difficulties in collecting accurate data on the elusive species across its full range from Afghanistan through to China.

What has been the main contributing factor to an increase in population?

Conservation efforts have been pinnacle in helping to prevent snow leopard extinction, particularly efforts to stop poaching and cutting off illegal trafficking routes however, as far as we are aware, the population is still decreasing, just not as rapidly as we once thought.

What are some negatives that could come from de-listing the snow leopard?

The biggest concern about the recent downlisting is that the lower status may weaken conservation efforts in range countries and the ability of local governments to stop the major threats to their survival. Some funding sources are also restricted to Endangered or Critically Endangered species, so there may be less funding opportunities for the species.

Tell us about your invention for tracking species like the snow leopard?

This invention has become the biggest life sacrifice for me, because I believe in its value so much! With the help of biomedical experts from McMaster University, the Centre for Molecular Dynamics in Nepal and Panthera, we aim to develop a simple, inexpensive, accurate, sensitive and portable DNA detection kit that can be used by non-experts for the rapid detection of species from the evidence they leave behind.

Through the identification of animals from their droppings we can gain an accurate estimate of population abundance, and the kit will be particularly useful for the detection of rare and elusive species where scats are difficult to identify morphologically. The portability and affordability of the kit will also make it easier for detecting species inhabiting challenging terrain, and in developing countries where conservation funding is limited. Once identified, those samples can then be taken back to the lab for further analysis of diet and disease.

The kit can also be used by customs officers to rapidly identify the remains of illegally trafficked species such as skins and bone. It is the lack of ability to be able to distinguish between legal and illegal wildlife products that represents the biggest issue in the enforcement and prosecution of wildlife trafficking. By improving our frontline detection methods we can identify poaching hotspots and trafficking routes, determine the geographic origin and age of the product, as well as assist law enforcement officers to prevent future crimes.

Finally, the simple design will allow the detection kit to be used by non-experts such as local communities and for citizen science initiatives. The usability of the kit will help local people to be directly involved in identifying and mitigating threats to wildlife, thereby expanding conservation outcomes.

We’ve already made significant headway and with the support of people and organisations who believe in the value of this idea too, we’ll get there.

To subscribe to regular updates on the project and to make a donation, please visit https://www.natscatsdna.com/

What are the greatest challenges for the species moving forward?

Despite the IUCN downlisting of the species, snow leopards are still considered at high risk of extinction from habitat loss and degradation from mining and infrastructure development, declines in prey populations and poaching for the illegal wildlife trade. It is so important that we don’t become complacent in our efforts to preserve this important apex predator.

The snow leopard plays a crucial part in maintaining the health of the Himalayan ecosystem.